It has been a really big day for Disney! With the D23 Expo going on in Anaheim this weekend, all sorts of buzz is around my favorite places. Disney World has several new and exciting things coming around. A lot of these have been rumors for a long time. As usual, rumors are typically true in Disney World!
First, coming later in 2015 a Jungle Cruise themed restaurant: Skipper’s Cantina will be coming to Adventureland. This a long awaited announcement as the current refurbishment of Liberty Tree Tavern was to expand the kitchen for this restaurant. The skippers of the Jungle Cruise will be manning this restaurant so I expect the same corny jokes and humor. While the full details are not completely revealed, many (including myself) believe that the restaurant will work in similar fashion to Be Our Guest with lunch as a quick service stop and dinner as table service. It will also rival the popularity and difficulty to grab the reservation as Be Our Guest. I’m excited to see when opening day will be and get some reviews!
Next, Star Wars Land coming to Hollywood Studios and a second in Disneyland This will a new 14 acre land that will transport you to Star Wars. This will be a very time consuming process. I’m guessing they have been doing a lot groundwork already, but I’m sure we’ll soon see a lot of new things popping up and walls going up around the construction zones. The land sounds nothing short of amazing. Guests can ride the Millennium Falcon and also check out the famed cantina (while my family isn’t die hard into Star Wars, you bet I will be trying out both)!
While all of the Star Wars fans so patiently wait for the new area to open (no whispers of dates yet), Disney did reveal some exciting things to tie you over:
- An update to Jedi Training Academy
- Star Tours 3.0 (a refresh to the existing ride – don’t expect to see a refurbishment since it’s a simulator style ride)
- Star Wars: Season of the force coming in 2016 which will be a lead into the Star Wars weekends with fireworks returning to Hollywood Studios (a great way to add evening traffic to that park!)
Staying in Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land is also coming! I am really excited about this one. It adds a kid and family friendly area in a park that was lacking a good kid presence outside of Disney Jr. themed attractions. This 11 acre area will be anchored by a new family coaster created by Andy where guests get to ride on the back of Slinky Dog. Another new attraction will be the Alien Green Saucers which sound a lot like the Mad Tea Party in Magic Kingdom. Guests will also be able to meet their favorite Toy Story friends. Additionally (and already announced), the 2nd Toy Story Mania track is in place to help alleviate the current (and future) traffic coming to that area. No details on an opening date for any of the new attractions.
Moving over to Epcot, the update to Maelstrom to a Frozen attraction is still in progress. Newer information about the transformation of the entire Norway pavilion has been revealed as well. The Royal Sommerhus (which has started to peek over the the top of the construction walls earlier this week) will give guests an new location to meet Anna & Elsa and the area is very authentic Norwegian. Sven will also be making his appearance here. Still no Olaf (sorry friends!) Scheduled to open in mid-2016.
Epcot’s headlining attraction Soarin’ will also be getting an update: Soarin’ Around the World will make its debut in 2016. This new experience will keep you in your hang glider as you fly high above some amazing attractions. No longer will it be California centric. Disney is currently in process of adding a third theater in Epcot to meet capacity demands.
The last park to get an update: Animal Kingdom. For anyone that has been there recently, you’ve seen the construction walls. None of these projects are newly announced, but it was nice to hear updates to them.
Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris. A family favorite attraction will now be extended for a nighttime adventure with speciality lights added with some additional animals getting adding to the safari. Expect to see this as hours get extended while Animal Kingdom joins the other 3 parks with true evening hours (can I get a FINALLY?!)
Rivers of Light. Walls have been up for what seems like forever on this project! Scheduled to open in spring of 2016, this experience will combine live music, lanterns, water, and animal imagery. Don’t expect any fireworks, but it sounds like a very unique experience and capacity will be high to see this around the water.
Update on AVATAR. The official title will be Pandora – the World of AVATAR. The main attraction in this land will be “Flight of Passage” which brings gets into scenes from the movie as they soar on a Banshee. This will be another amazing immersive experience. It is scheduled to open in 2017. Stay patient friends!
I, for one, am absolutely excited about all of these new updates! We are frequent Disney goers, and while there’s always something new, I haven’t seen announcements this big since new Fantasyland was announced and with so many announcements and enhancements, it’s an amazing time to get excited about Disney travel.
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